Who is the audience for a university website?

Credit to xkcd: the webcomic
Credit to xkcd: the webcomic

As the academic year begins in US institutions of higher learning . . . I couldn’t resist sharing this comic from xkcd.  Last year, faculty in my College were in an uproar over a redesigned website created for an external audience. The furor has died down now that most of the content for the internal audience is available on a companion site.   The situation was a clear signal that different audiences have different needs.  And one document can’t succeed for everyone.

case of the mondays

The disclaimer below makes the audience for xkcd comics clear. The site might be a nice diversion if you’re struggling to get through a case of the Mondays (a la Office Space).

Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

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  1. I suppose the list of things people actually look for on the front page in a way depends on what kind of university it is. In my school one of the things I specifically look for (and I believe a lot of fellow students look for) is “promotions for campus events.” In an art school campus events (exhibitions and art show openings in particular, and workshops and talks also) are very important.

    Also, “full name of school” isn’t really necessarily in the intersection. My school’s usual name (and the name you’ll find on its front page) is not its full name, and my school is not alone in doing this.

    It’s just xkcd, I know, but I’d still like to point out that the graph isn’t really too credible.

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